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The Kyrgyz Republic commemorates its Registration Service

27 December, Bishkek – The Government of the Kyrgyz Republic awarded the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Bishkek with a Medal of Honor during the official ceremony of the 85th anniversary of the Passport and Visa Department of the State Registration Service of the Kyrgyz Republic.

For nine years, the State Registration Service and UNHCR enjoyed close collaboration, aiming at eradicating statelessness in the country. Since 2014, the UN Refugee Agency and the State Registration Service launched a joint campaign to register and reduce statelessness throughout the entire country. During the two-year operation, more than 12,000 stateless persons or those at risk of statelessness, including Soviet passport holders, foreigners with expired passports, and persons without birth certificates were provided free legal counselling and assistance to regularize their legal status and obtain proper documentation. To date over 10 thousand have obtained documentation or citizenship.

Legal and administrative gaps identified through the field activities are brought to the attention of the Government, along with suggestions for improvement. UNHCR continues to support the Kyrgyz government in addressing practical and legal issues not only to ensure the reduction of statelessness, but also to prevent future cases of statelessness.

Although the Kyrgyz Republic already implements most of its provisions through its Citizenship Law, the UN Refugee Agency hopes that the Kyrgyz Republic will soon join the club of countries that have ratified the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. Ratification of these Conventions is important to crystalize all its achievements and to show leadership as an active member of the international community.

UNHCR Regional Representative for Central Asia, Ms. Oda, thanked for the award and congratulated the officials for the achievements:

“On behalf of UNHCR, let me express my profound gratitude to the Kyrgyz partners for long-standing cooperation for the refugees, the displaced persons and stateless people in the Republic….. Not having proper documentation is a stress and a source of insecurity. Everyone needs to feel safe and secure. UNHCR stands ready to provide legal and technical assistance in order to resolve the situation of some two thousand ‘stateless’ persons that still remain the country.”